Revitalising an iconic brand

Building a brand is no easy task, many have tried and failed. So iconic brands stand out. There are new pretenders who attempt to knock the old guard off their spot. Namely the likes of Google, Amazon etc. These companies are seen as examples of best marketing practice at the moment.

The challenge for the icons is to stay at the top. Brands will die if they fail to move with the times. If a brand had clear values it can also be seen as a double edged sword. For classic read dull, for established read boring.

Levi’s and the jean we all recal is the 501 is working to revitalise its brand

Using Social Media in Crisis

The internet has changed our lives in so many ways.  The way companies respond to customers is no exception. If there was a crisis the business had at least 24 hours to deal with the problem. Now that time is cut to about an hour.

Immediacy is the big change and also the need to offer information. Eurostar has used Twitter as a marketing tool. Yet during the break down in the tunnel it avoided giving feedback via social media. This frustrated consumers who needed to know what is happening.

The way Virgin dealt with a train crash in 2007 is seen as best marketing practice. Get straight to the issue, confront the problem, be direct and sort the fall out. This is where Toyota suffered. They did not deal with the problem as a whole, it was a drip drip drip approach. Avoiding the issue never solves anything. They are fast becoming the way not to manage the crisis.

Steps for Using Social Media in Crisis

Be direct, clarify the extent of the problem

Confront the issues

Offer a solution

Take responsibility for communication. Social media really works very quickly so make it work for you. Or consumers will use social media against you

Brand Tiger

Could not let the recent press on Tiger Woods go without a post. Brand Tiger has been carefully built on the values of reliability, focus and achievement. The guy who came from nowhere and broke into the golfing world, not only that but became the best by some distance. He is credited with generating a huge industry of golf followers and also improving the standards in the game.

Hence the shock at the current headlines. So where now? Golf needs him to redeem his reputation. Sometimes it is the way a problem is handled that is the issue. This has not been ideal nor has the constant stream of headlines. He needs time to regroup and deal with the fall out. His sponsors can be seen to abandon in time of need which could be a bigger risk for them. One thing for sure is that golf needs Tiger, he needs reparation. Time will tell if he is able to rebuild. One key lesson is that whatever the brand it is so fragile it cannot be taken for granted

Best Marketing Practice-X Factor Goes Global

The growth of X Factor as a brand has been extraordinary. It has a multi million viewer base every week. The established stars that appear every week such as Rihana and Alicia Keys see a boost in their sales within days. For the weeks leading up to the final the music charts are dominated by the X Factor acts.  It is a really good example of marketing practice

This is now becoming a global event.  Simon Cowell and Sir Philip Green of the High Street retail fame are to join forces. They will take the show to Vegas with two stage shows a week. They plan two shows each week with pay per view. For the top 12 contestants they will sing in Vegas which is a huge dream.

This is a really good example of the way in which a brand can be firstly built and then extended. In this blog there have been other posts on this topic and it is one that will be revisited again

Marketing Case Study. How o2 Expands

In marketing there are so many marketing case studies that talk about brand stretch. It is a popular topic in marketing exams and assignments.  Current marketing practice is to build brands.  The importance of branding cannot be under estimated. Kotler famously said that ‘without brands products become commondities’. One of the key tasks of any marketing manager is to build the brand. This is equally important in all sectors from the popular consumer goods such as Coke Cola, to banks to branding people. For example building X Factor as a brand, Simon Cowell as an individual and the latest in the family is Cheryl Cole.

Once the brand is built the level of brand equity develops. That gives the business opportunities to expand. We have seen that followed by the likes of Tesco. From a start of food retailing the brand how expanded into clothing, electrical goods, financial services and so on.

One of the latest businesses to stretch the brand is o2. From a mobile phone business which was originally part of BT it has built the brand from scratch. It has grown to be the largest mobile phone provider in the UK. The consumers are across the spectrum but it boasts a large number of younger customers. These are difficult to access for marketers. This customer base is now so valuable and o2 are now able to offer more to these customers. They can see the needs of the customers and that is the key for marketing managers.

The expansion for o2 is into financial services with the latest card. The benefits are that you are able to manage your cash and be alerted , by text of course, when the balance on the card falls. This is really helpful and offers a personalised service. Visit for details. The question in any brand stretch or expansion is how far can it go? If it is over stretched it loses the equity in the brand. Some of the exclusive brands offer diffusion lines and low cost items but it is an aspiration to own an expensive product. If it becomes too available it loses the very reason for purchase. The marketing lessons and best marketing practice is to carefully select the markets to enter and to ensure that the brand equity is built not reduced

Marketing Case Study- New Brands for Marks and Spencer

Marketing students have seen for many years that Marks and Spencer is a marketing case study that has built its’ entire business on it own brand. Marketing the brand has been taken many years of dedicated effort. It has a range of quality suppliers who manufacture all of its’ ranges. Due to the price pressures M & S hit the headlines when companies in the UK were closed in order for the products to manufactured more cheaply in a range of different countries. This affected consumer confidence and some would say, that in the early stages the quality suffered. This is an example of marketing practice and how it is constantly developing.

The next development was into convenience type stores and offering only food. Simply Food can be found in some high streets but also in railway stations and motorway service stations. Often the simpler the idea the better. This has helped to revitalise the business. It has focused on customer needs. Built specific ranges for the different target customers.

For any business to succeed it must get the marketing basic right. Simply need to decide on the customer, really get under their skin and understand those needs. So, we are driving home and want something easy from Simply Food. No effort when we get home was a master stroke and a clever brand extension. It seems that Waitrose is about to offer a similar stripped down shopping experience.

The latest development is now to offer branded products. This is a total change in brand policy and is a calculated risk. The advantage is that it will extend the M & S brand into new areas and offer customers the opportunity to buy the brands and own labels at the same time. The challenge is to ensure that these brands compliment the current range and not compete.

Marketing lessons and tutorial. Be specific about the brand position and ensure that the brand values are clear and the brand is not over extended

Marketing Case Study-Ferrari – the World’s Fastest Rollercoaster Ride

When you think of Ferrari it conjures up images of sexy red sports cars. Racing round the Italian mountains with sparkling blue sea in the background. Driven of course by the best looking guy.

The brand is loved by those who may not be able to afford the car but can buy the merchandise. Marketing students have seen the classic brand extension into clothing, sunglasses and so on. There are 28 stores around the world where the brand fan can indulge their passion. So far all pretty traditional brand extensions. Common in the automotive industry.

The latest extension of the brand is a big change. Ferrari are opening a theme park in Abu Dhabi. The roof is in the shape of a side of the Ferrari GT body.

The car maker says the theme park will host over 20 attractions, “each designed to bring to life a different part of the Ferrari story”, including the world’s fastest rollercoaster and rides for children. (Marketing Week Oct 09)

This really takes the ride of your life to a whole new level.

Lessons for marketing students are to build the brand so that it has real equity and that links to the relationship it has with the consumer. Once that is established the brand then extends into new areas. The risk is to ensure that it is not stretched too thinly or it will devalue the brand.

Marketing Case Study- Can the High Street Survive?

Much has been written in the press about the recession and its effect on spending. There is no doubt that there has been a major slow down and decrease in consumer confidence. So, the question is how can retailers survive? This is a topic that will be seen in a marketing exam or business exam this year.

One way is to cut prices and bundle products together. So a typical offer is to buy a shirt and get the second one half price. However there is more to it. Look at the thousands of people who go shopping and the numbers that return home with bags. They look and some buy and some walk away.

If you are a marketing professional or marketing student,look at the way in which you can excite customers. The marketing lessons are to offer something of interest. It needs to be up to date, not too expensive so buyers can justify it and ease to match into an existing wardrobe. So your display would be Key Trends for Autumn. If you read the millions of fashion pages in magazines that is the story. Yet shops have rails of stuff and you have to work out what goes with what. So outfits or rooms where you can see how it all works together.

Take the marketing case study of Next. The online directory shows, trends and rooms. It is easy for the consumer to see how that wil work for them. You can also shop by product such as shirts or tops. Try then to reflect how someone lives. So is it Saturday night outfit? Smart business suit. Or maybe something you can wear for both?  If you watch the house makeover programmes they style a house so somebody can see themselves living there.

The lesson for marketing students, is to excite the consumer, show what is new but not too different. Make choices simple so that consumers can see themselves in that skirt or buying that latest shade of bedding. By doing this we are removing the risk. The key point is to ask what stops someone from buying?  Typically it would be cost or will this look right on me? What will my friends think and will it work with that shirt I bought last week.

The marketing questions are to understand the need to really get inside the mind of the consumer and not just think about shifting rails of product.

Building the Manchester City Brand- Free Marketing Tutorial

Nouveau riche Premier League club Manchester City has been splashing Abu Dhabi United Group’s cash this week as if it was burning a hole in their considerable pockets.

Tevez and Mark Hughes
The last seven days have seen City bring in Carlos Tevez from neighbours Manchester United, all but sign Arsenal forward Emmanuel Adebayor and an audacious attempt to prise Chelsea captain John Terry away from Stamford Bridge – all moves that signal the club’s on-field ambitions.

Off the field, the executive team is also looking to capitalise on the team’s increased exposure with marketing nous.

The latest stage of rebuilding brand Manchester City came with the appointment of digital agency iCrossing to manage all natural, paid search and social media for the Eastlands-based club.

The appointment followed the June relaunch of their new Poke created website, which will feature video content developed by Big Brother producer Endemol.

Personnel wise, the club has been gearing up for a marketing push by hiring Chris Kay, former head of account management at Fallon, as head of marketing and former Aegis man David Pullan to lead brand development.

City were also quick to snap up a global brand as shirt sponsor, signing a reported £40m deal with airline Etihad earlier this year, after incumbent Thomas Cook decided not to renew.

Pullan says the recent appointments are about “employing some traditional marketing rigour”, adding the club needs the “key marketing elements in place” to build global recognition of the brand.

To this end, the club has also appointed strategic marketing consultancy Flamingo International to explore, Pullan says, how City can “connect” with markets around the world.

Julian Ireland, planning director at iCrossing, says its task is “maximising worldwide interest” in the club’s “assets” such as newly signed Argentinean Tevez.

City have some way to go to match local rivals Manchester United, widely recognised to be the benchmark in this area. Manchester United has “official partnerships” with brands around the world with the aim of maximising global revenue. The Reds also have a number of superstores selling branded merchandise in South East Asia and this week announced the opening of their first café in India.

Elsewhere, Chelsea have diversified into hotels, restaurants and a travel company using the Chelsea Village brand since the West Londoners became the last English team transformed by a billionaire’s benevolence in 2003.

Antony Marcou, managing director of sports marketing agency Sports Revolution, says although the club “has been making all the right noises” by appointing marketing expertise, it still has considerable ground to make up on the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United when it comes to international recognition.

“The club needs to build the brand on the ground through opening retail operations in places such as South East Asia so fans can get close to the brand,” he says.

The latest Deloitte football rich list confirms the mountain City have to climb. The club generated £82.3m in revenues during the 2007/2008 season, significantly behind English rivals Arsenal on £209m, Chelsea on £212m and Manchester United on £257m and way behind leaders Real Madrid on £289m.

City are busy building a roster of on-field marketable “assets” that in turn should bring on-pitch success, which Pullan recognises as the “key driver” to building the Premier League club’s global appeal. The club’s paymasters are certainly not lacking in ambition or resources to achieve their previously stated aim to be one of the “biggest football brands on the planet”.
Source Marketing Week

Marketing Lessons Building a brand is essential to differentiate an organisation and sport is not different. Man City are now building the equity in the brand. They will thne be able to extend into a wider range of merchandise. This will all help to boost revenue in a very competitive industry

Chelsea FC- Bridge Kids-

Chelsea FC relaunches Bridge Kids site LONDON – Chelsea FC has re-launched its new kids’ website, Bridge Kids, with new community areas and virtual sticker books.

Developed by John Brown, Bridge Kids supports the Bridge Kids magazine, published by John Brown since August 2008, to target junior supporters of the team.

The new-look site has ‘virtual sticker books’ that get kids returning time and again to add to, review and complete their collection online; video soccer skills tutorials from the club’s own playing and coaching staff; community areas; and fitness and nutritional tips and courses to make sure the next generation of footballers and fans alike are fit, active and healthy.

The site is free to access but requires parental approval and registration. They are also bringing news to fans via Twitter using the Stamford Lion as the tweeter
Source Marketing AUG 09

Marketing lesson Chelsea is using the well established tactic of building lifetime value. They are looking to gain loyalty from the kids so that they become a life long fan. In building this loyalty the costs of keeping these fans is much less that trying to convert new ones. The also act as advocates to build the brand.